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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The local political dynasties

How Pune matches national trend of keeping politics and power within the family.

Written by Express News Service | Published: March 17, 2013 2:13:31 am

Narendra Modi may have lashed out at the dynastic politics of the Congress at the Centre,but the trend is not confined to Delhi. Dynasties dominate across party lines and Pune is no exception. There are several leaders who while climbing the political ladder from the civic body to the state legislature,have ensured that family members fill the space they have vacated. These MLAs have been subtly but surely introducing their kin in the local bodies.

The Nimhans of Pashan

Family members in politics:

In Pashan,the Nimhans are a dynasty. While Congress MLA Vinayak Nimhan spelt out his MP dreams in June last year when he openly opposed incumbent MP Suresh Kalmadi being offered a grand welcome when he returned to the city post the CWG scam,his son Chandrashekhar Nimhan is already a corporator and the chief of the Youth Congress in the city.

The surname can be seen roads,chawls,restaurants and construction works in Pashan-Baner trace the surname,though not necessarily to the father-son duo of Vinayak and Chandrashekhar Nimhan.

The family name is ubiquitous in their constituency,and the name can be seen from roads and chawls to restaurants and construction works in Pashan-Baner,though not necessarily attributed to the father- son duo of Vinayak and Chandrashekhar Nimhan. What makes the family omnipresent in their constituency is their political presence across party lines.

Take for instance Suhas Nimhan,the MNS candidate for the recent corporation elections who gives credit of his political upbringing to MLA Nimhan,which his official website,too,notes. “Suhas Nimhan laid the foundation of his political career under the guidance of Mr Vinayak Nimhan and began to participate in social activities,” says the website.

Yet another Nimhan — Pramod — was an NCP corporator until 2012. In the 2012 Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) elections when Pramod from panel 10 had to step aside in the 2012 PMC elections owing to reservation of the seat for women,finding a candidate was not a difficult task. He accommodated his wife Sushma and she won by a comfortable margin. Pramod,however, lost from neighbouring Panel 8 (Baner).

The Pathares of Vadgaonsheri

Family members in politics:

A recent entry on the list of families dominating city politics are the Pathares led by MLA Bapusaheb Pathare. The family has four corporators in PMC to build upon the foundation laid by him. The family has not been new to politics but their area of dominance had been the gram panchayat as Vadgaonsheri area was then not part of the municipal corporation.

Bapu Pathare who got elected to panchayat at a young age was sarpanch of the village and made use of his clout to make it to the PMC. He became standing committee chairperson which provided him an opportunity to spread his dominance by taking up development projects in his area. Getting elected to the Assembly in 2009 even as he was PMC corporator,he started working to ensure that his family maintains its stronghold on the area by representing it in the PMC. Pathare managed to get an NCP ticket for five members of his family to contest PMC polls in 2012 and four of them were elected. Pathare’s wife Sanjila,sister-in-law Suman,cousin Mahadev and nephew Mahendra continue the legacy of the legislator in the PMC. This is also for the first time that so many members from one family are PMC corporators. “It took years for us to establish our hold in local politics. Thus,we would like to continue that and work for development of the area,” said MLA Pathare. His nephew Mahendra said the family has done a lot for people of the area so they have shown confidence in them. “The development of any area can be carried forward if there is someone from our family who will push for civic funds for their area,” he said adding there will always be someone from the family in the PMC.

The Mokates of Kothrud

Family members in politics:

No party has bucked the political-family trend. From the Shiv Sena,legislator Chandrakant Mokate has placed his family in this bracket. Mokate was corporator of PMC in the previous tenure and was appointed deputy mayor. His rise from a party activist to Shiv Sena corporator was further given a push by the party when he was given a ticket for the 2009 Assembly elections even when there were other strong contenders from the party for the ticket from Kothrud assembly segment.

The Kothrud assembly segment has been a stronghold of the Shiv Sena but the emergence of MNS made the contest interesting. Also,the 2009 Assembly elections in Kothrud gained prominence with the then corporators Deepak Mankar and Ujjwal Keskar jumping into the fray without the support of their parties. The NCP made veteran BJP leader and former city MP Anna Joshi their candidate to ensure division of votes in the saffron bastion.

Mokate emerged winner and entered the state legislature. To continue his hold on local politics by getting someone from his family to replace him in the PMC,he got his nephew Yogesh Mokate to take over the family reins in the civic body.

“I made a mark in politics due to confidence shown by voters of the ward that I represented in PMC. Thus,it was my responsibility to ensure the development of the area and resolve the civic problems,” Chandrakant Mokate said adding that the area of his work has been extended after getting elected to Assembly. “I cannot ignore contribution of citizens in shaping my political career by getting me elected first to the PMC. This can be ensured only if a confidant replaces me in the local civic body and my nephew was the first choice,” Mokate said. His nephew Yogesh said,“My uncle has worked for the citizens of the area and set standards. It was a big responsibility to match it and keep the name of the family in the good books of voters. I will continue to work for people of area.”

The Misals of Parvati

Family members in politics:

BJP MLA Madhuri Misal entered politics post the death of her corporator-husband Satish Misal. During the second year of her corporatorship,she successfully contested the Assembly elections in 2009 and became MLA. Although Misal does not want her daughter Pooja to enter politics,Misal’s sister-in-law Manasi Desphande successfully contested the civic election in 2012 and is the corporator from Panel 71 B. The Misal family’s tryst with politics goes back to the days of Satish Misal,who was a four-time corporator. When asked about her decision to enter politics,Misal stated it was comparatively easy given the political background of her husband. “For us,who come from political families,entry is a bit easy but all of us have to put in equal amount of work once we get elected,” she said.

Misal said she hopes to retain MLA seat in the 2014 elections.

Talking about her experience in politics,Manasi Deshpande,said that owing to the political atmosphere prevalent in their homes,it was a relatively easy for her to enter the political arena. “Given our political background,we are groomed for public life so it is not that difficult for us. But once we get elected we do have to put in extra work to rise up to the expectations from us,” she said.

The Tapkirs of Khadakwasla

Family members in politics:

Bhimrao Tapkir is BJP MLA from Khadakwasla while his sister-in-law Varsha Tapkir is a sitting corporator. The softspoken Bhimrao Tapkir turned out to be giantkiller during the byelections for the Khadakwasla Assembly constituency two years back. He defeated NCP candidate Harshada Wanjale. Wanjale had contested the seat post the death of her MLA husband Ramesh Wanjale,who was the lone MNS MLA from Pune. Although,Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had campaigned for her and had got ministers and other senior leaders to campaign for her,Tapkir managed to win by a decent margin. Although a two-time corporator earlier,Tapkir had been keeping a low profile and is known for his softspoken nature. Tapkir has said he would contest the 2014 elections as well.

Two-time corporator Varsha Tapkir stated that her entry into politics was a consequence of her family’s political links. “People might think it is easy for us in politics but actually we have to strive harder to make a mark,” she said. She,however, added that due to early grooming in the nuances of public life,joining politics was easier.

The Bagwes of Camp

Family members in politics:

In three decades,the Bagwe clan has come a long way from political oblivion in the 80s to a family of undeniable clout in city politics. Ramesh Bagwe,who once worked as a bicycle mechanic in Swargate is the Congress MLA from Pune Cantonment Board and has served as a minister of state. Two of his sons,Avinash and Yaser,are active in politics with the former serving his second term as corporator. Not content,the senior Bagwe seems to be pulling his third son,Kuldeep,who also garnered quite a bit of publicity when he was booked for allegedly attempting to murder a Cantonment Board contractor,into politics. The Bagwes,however,rubbish this. “Kuldeep is a businessman and will remain so,” they say.

Ramesh Bagwe started his political stint in the mid-80s with support from then Congress MLA Suresh Kalmadi,who was,people say,impressed by the clout Ramesh enjoyed in the area due to his criminal record. Ramesh managed to get into PMC on a Congress ticket and hasn’t looked back. Then he went on to contest Assembly polls thrice,twice from Parvati and once from PCB seats. His son Avinash Bagwe is a two-time corporator and also headed the civic sports committee. Yasir,the other Bagwe sibling lost the 2012 PMC Polls.

Speaking on the rise of the Bagwes in politics,Avinash says,“For my father it was really difficult as he didn’t have any political legacy. My grandfather was a serviceman and had seven children. For my father,it was a struggle to make ends meet. Still he succeeded in politics.” Avinash says he doesn’t have any plans of stepping into state politics.

“My father will continue contesting Assembly polls and I will remain active in city politics. I like my job in the PMC as the entire schemes that are taken up by state and union governments have to be implemented by the PMC,” he says.

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